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Abstract

The purposes of this study were to describe health behavior of the elderly and to explore the determinants and health consequences of that behavior, using survey data from 386 respondents (138 men, 248 women), 55 years of age and older. These elderly persons engaged in a wide variety of activities to protect their health, the most important of which were eating properly, obtaining adequate rest, and exercising. By multiple regression analysis, age, sex, socioeconomic status, and marital status explained only 7.2% of the variance in health protective behavior. Of those variables, sex had the greatest association with health protective behavior and age the least. Married men, but not married women, practiced more health behaviors than their unmarried counterparts. Health protective behavior was not related to overall health status, but was weakly related to perceived health. The lack of association between health protective behavior and health status is interpreted in terms of the nature of the population examined.